John Mclaughlin Jazz Fusion Chromatic guitar Lick

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John Mclaughlin Chromatic Guitar Jazz Fusion Licks Lesson

This blog takes a brief look at John Mclaughlin’s use of Chromaticism in regards to Jazz Fusion Guitar lines. The 2 licks are also from a video I did on Dave Liebman. They both share the same concepts. The licks are riffs doubled up with piano

John Mclaughlin Guitar Lick 1 -Employ strict alternate picking starting on a “Downstroke”

John Mclaughlin Chromatic Guitar Licks Lesson

John Mclaughlin Guitar Lick 2 -Again, employ strict alternate picking starting on a “Downstroke”

John Mclaughlin Chromatic Guitar Licks Lesson

The key is to pick each 4 note grouping [Tetrachord] in time with your foot tapping the 1/4 note.

So you have:

“1 e and a 2 e and a 3 e and a 4 e and a”

This will give you a smooth alternate picking sound and hold time with the piano [or doubling instrument].

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Jazz/fusion improvisation Altered scale Theory Lesson

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Today we will look at a John Mclaughlin alternate picking Jazz/Fusion improvisation cadence employing the altered dominant chord! Please watch the video below and then try it out yourself.

As you will see this cadence employs the Altered scale. It is a 2 [minor 7 flat 5] going to 5 [ “Altered Dominant”] 1 [major 7th]. This being Dm7 flat 5  G7 altered resolving to C major7.

I also employ a flat 5 substitution on the Dm7 flat 5. All of this resolves though and slips nicely into the altered dominant 5 chord. I also use pentatonics within the altered scale for rhythmic flow. Please look at the TAB/MUSIC below and play through it yourself to see and feel how it all “Naturally” unfolds. I employ alternate picking the same as John Mclaughlin.

John Mclaughlin alternate picking altered scale line Music/Tab

John Mclaughlin Alternate picking Altered scale jazz improviser line

VARIATION With an A flat Pentatonic shape replacing A flat minor/Major Arpeggio for the flat 5 substitution.


Altered scale jazz improvisation, jazz improviser lesson

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